Pat Garrett, Lawman, and Ware Descendant

Sheriff Patrick or “Pat” Garrett was best know for killing Billy the Kid, as well as, other desperado’s in the American southwest.  His career as a lawman began while he was working as a bartender in Lincoln County, New Mexico, during the time of the Lincoln County Wars.

Pat Garret was born November 5, 1850 in Chambers Co., Alabama; one of nine children.  His father, John Lumpkin Garrett, Jr. and mother, Elizabeth Ann Jarvis  moved from Alabama and to northern Louisiana, after the third child was born in the family.  According to John E. Garrett, “the Garrett Plantation was the largest single owned Plantation in Claiborne Parish; about 100 slaves before the Civil War.”  Here Pat grew up and attained his early education.  His parents died within four months of each other when he was eighteen and he went West to become a buffalo hunter in Texas.  (The younger children were cared for by the oldest daughter, Margaret and her husband.)

By 1878, buffalo hunting was no longer profitable and Pat settled at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.  He married Apolinaria Gutierrez and they raised nine children.  During the the last months of the Lincoln War, Garrett was a bartender.  The sheriff of Lincoln Co., resigned his position two months before the end of this term and Garrett, who by now had a growing reputation as a gunman, accepted the position and promised to restore the law.

His first assignment was to track down and arrest Henry McCarty, who had escaped jail; being held for the murder of supposedly 21 men during the Lincoln Wars.  McCarty was, alias Henry Antirm, alias, William Harrison Bonney, alias “Billy the Kid”.  McCarty had a $500 bounty personally set by the New Mexico Governor, Lew Wallace.

“On December 19, 1880, Garrett killed Tom O’Folliard, a member of McCarty’s gang in the  shootout.  On December 23, the sheriff’s posse killed Charlie Bowdre, captured The Kid and his companion at Stinking Springs,… and transported the captives to Mesilla, New Mexico, for trial.  Though he was convicted, The Kid managed to escape from the Lincoln County jail on April 28, 1881, after killing his guards…

On July 14, 1881, Garrett visited Fort Sumner to question a friend of The Kid’s about the whereabouts of the outlaw.  He learned that The Kid was staying with a mutual friend, Pete Maxwell,…  Around midnight, Garrett went to the Maxwell’s house.  The Kid was asleep in another part of the house but woke up hungry in the middle of the night and entered Maxwell’s bedroom where Garrett was standing in the shadows.  The Kid did not recognize the man standing in the dark.  ‘Who is it?’ he asked repeatedly.  Garrett replied by shooting The Kid twice, the first shot hitting him above the heart, although the second one missed and struck the mantle behind The Kid.  (Some historians have questioned Garrett’s account of the shooting, alleging the incident happened differently.  They claim that Garrett went into Paulita Maxwell’s room and tied her up.  The Kid walked into her room, and Garrett ambushed him with a single blast from his Sharps rifle..

There has been much dispute over the details of The Kid’s death that night.  The way Garrett allegedly killed McCarty without warning eventually sullied the lawman’s reputation.  Garret claimed that Billy the Kid had entered the room armed with a pistol, but no gun was found on the body.  Other accounts claim he entered carrying a kitchen knife.  There is no hard evidence to support this.  Garrett’s reputation was also hurt by popular stories that he and Billy had once been friends, and that the shooting was a kind of betrayal.  But historians have found no evidence of such a friendship.” (1)

He never received the$500 reward for The Kid’s capture, because he had killed him.

Garrett managed to shrug off the criticism and moved on with his career as a popular lawman, gaining numerous appointments to law enforcement positions, however, his career began to wain after the end of the Lincoln County War.   He lost the election as the next sheriff of Lincoln County and then again in 1882 in Grant County.  He ranched for awhile.  But after his next bitter defeat for the position of sheriff in the newly created county of Chaves, New Mexico, Pat Garrett, moved his family to Uvalde county, Texas, where he resided for sometime.

In 1899, Garrett purchased a ranch in the San Andres Mountains of New Mexico and worked as sheriff in Dona Ana, Mesilla and Las Cruses.

December 16, 1901, Pat Garrett is controversially appointed Customs Collector in El Paso, Texas, by Theodore Roosevelt and served five years.  He lost favor with Roosevelt in a bad publicity stunt and was not reappointed.

At this time Garrett retied to his ranch in the mountains of New Mexico, but he was suffering great financial difficulty. Heavily in debt from unpaid taxes and liable for an un-paid loan he had co-signed for a friend, he began to drink and gamble.  He tried to work out a credit arrangement with a rancher W.W. Cox, using his quarter horse ranch in the mountains, as grazing land for a partner of Cox.

“There is no deal on record in the courthouse, and no deed from Garrett to Cox.   Cox took over the ranch and razed the home…  Garrett agreed to the deal, not realizing Jesse Wayne Brazel” (the partner of Cox) “would be grazing goats rather that cattle on the land.  Garrett objected to the goats, feeling their presence lowered the value of his land in the eyes of buyers or other renters.  By this time, questions  surrounding the manner in which he killed the Billy the Kid and Garrett’s general demeanor had led to his becoming quite unpopular.  He no loner had any local political support, his support from President Roosevelt had been withdrawn, and he had few friends with power.

Garrett and a man named Carl Adamson, who was in the process of talks with Garrett to purchase land, rode together heading from Las Cruses, New Mexico, in Adamson’s wagon.  Brazel showed up on horseback along the way.  Garrett and Brazel began to argue about the goats grazing on Garrett’s land.  Garrett is  alleged  to have leaned forward to pick up a shot gun on the floorboard.  Brazel shot him  once in the head, and then once more in the stomach as Garrett fell from the wagon.  Brazel and Adamson left the body by the side of the road and returned to Las Cruses, alerting Sheriff Felipe Lucero of the killing.”

“Today, most historians believe Jesse Wayne Brazel, who confessed to the shooting and was tried for first degree murder, did in fact commit the crime.  Cox paid his bond…  Brazel claimed self defense, claiming that Garrett was armed with a shotgun and was threatening him.  Adamson backed up Brazel’s story.  The jury took less than a half-hour to return a not guilty verdict.  Cox hosted a barbeque in celebration of the verdict.” (1)

Pat was laid to rest in the Masonic Cemetery in Las Cruses, New Mexico, in a specially made coffin, because of his height, which was shipped from El Paso.  A monument, constructed by his son Jarvis Garrett, marks the place of the actual shooting.

Now that you know the history of Pat Garrett, it is time to connect him to his branch on the Ware Family Tree.  Pat Garret, born in 1850 was of the 8th generation of Garrett’s, descended from John Garett II (1631-1706), according to research done by John E. Garrett.

John Garrett II was born in Hosse, Leicestershire, England and immigrated to to Virginia when he was approximately 32 years old.  By the marriage to his first wife in England, Nannie Harrison, he had two children.  The writer of this lineage did not say what happened to her and it is presumed she died.  He  was married again in 1664 to Elizabeth Ware, who was born in Dublin Ireland, February 13, 1635.

“John Garrett, II was acquainted with the Ware’s while in England.

Elizabeth Ware’s father, Peter Ware (I) and at lease a part of his family immigrated first in the Plymouth Colony, but due to religious disagreement moved by 1646 to Hampton Parish in Virginia.  We find Peter in Ireland in 1636 selling his property before coming to America by way by of England.  Some records have all of Peter Ware’s children immigrating with him in 1646 — if so Elizabeth Ware would have been 12 years old.  Other records report that Elizabeth Ware ‘wanted to join her father and brother in Virginia’ thus suggesting she did not immigrate in 1646 but stayed in England until she came over with John Garrett II in 1664.” (2)

The history of the Ware’s and the Garrett’s are intertwined again 3 more generations into the future, when Edward Ware, the great-grandson of Peter Ware Sr. married Elizabeth Garrett in 1713 in King and Queen County, Virginia.  Edward is presumed to be the father of James Ware who married Agnes Todd, but that story is for another time.

Sources:  (1)

(2)  The Sheriff Pat Garrett Line-short pdf. at  http://


Pat Garrett, Lawman, and Ware Descendant — 1 Comment

  1. Now this is really interesting. Pat Garrett was not really the man that he is portrayed to be in books and movies, was he? I’m sure the Ware family line can be connected to many controvesial persons of the past.


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